Thursday, April 3, 2014

Underage Gaming – Don’t “Kid” Yourself

There are more things wrong with Lindsay Graham’s (R-Adelson) anti-online gaming bill than there are digits in my newly-minted PPA membership ID number (and that’s a lot), but I wanted to just look at the first sentence to debunk it and the new Coalition “Don’t Bet on It” ad (thanks to Mike Qualley for the pic).

Here’s the first sentence:  “To restore long-standing U.S. policy that the Wire Act prohibits all forms of Internet Gaming…” 

Hell, couldn’t even make it all the way through.

The Wire Act was made law in 1961, fifty-three years ago.  The Internet had yet to be created. The first poker website came about in 1995.  Americans played online without government interference until 2006’s UIGEA, which did not require compliance until 2009, and was not enforced until Black Friday, April 14, 2011. 

Long-standing policy my ass.

Secondly, all forms of “Internet Gaming” are not now prohibited, nor have they ever been.  I’ve had accounts on YouBet and Xpressbet since the nineties.  Perfectly legal.  Ironically so, since the original intent of the Wire Act was to suppress illegal bookmakers who took most of their action on…wait for it…horse racing.  The Wire Act actually made it POSSIBLE for simulcasting and with it, the online betting industry we know today.

Which gets us to point three: “carve outs” in the Graham Bill.  It is expected that the horse racing industry will again get a “free pass” in the implementation of this bill, as may online lottery ticket sales (the latter is under debate).  But there is one more “carve out” currently in place that receives little discussion but has been mentioned in the same breath as horse racing for exemption: Fantasy Leagues. 
And here’s where the hypocrisy of the new Coalition ad comes in.

According to the new ad, online gambling is dangerous to our youth, as it’s “so easy” (and cool) for kids like the boy shown in the ad to “just find” Dad’s account and start plopping down big cash at the roulette wheel and poker table.  Just like Angry Birds, almost, we’re told.

According to a September, 2013 article on Yahoo Finance, 20% of all teens (age 12-17) played in Fantasy Leagues in 2012.

Let me repeat that.  20% of all teens (age 12-17) play in Fantasy Leagues.

Do you think that kid in the Coalition’s ad is more likely to sit down at a virtual roulette wheel, or join a Fantasy League (or two or three or more)?  Where would Dad’s credit card be more vulnerable – at some new game he’s never played, or at something HE’S ALREADY DOING AND LOVES?

Politicians have no business introducing bills where they are totally ignorant of the implications or effects.  HR4301 is the poster child of that crap.

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